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Salon des Refusés

visitor-center-water-feature(Almost) Proposed walk-through scale model of the Shenandoah River watershed, above; 3D solid model of the Shenandoah River State Park visitor center, plus sad tale of woe, below:

visitor-center-evolution-10-10-09 Model (1)Sheesh. Here’s a concept that will never get built. This was going to be a very cool walk through scale topo map of the Shenandoah River watershed. ….WAS going to be.

I’ve just returned to this world after a much needed few hours of sleep. I was up for 32 hours straight starting sometime Monday morning, working on a bid proposal for a state park visitor center project that was due today. These bid proposals are really a ton of work, but the projects can be exciting to work on, and sometimes all the work is worth it. In this case, I had assembled a qualified team of subcontractors to handle some of the specialty aspects of the project… video production, thematic diorama construction, specialty fabrication, etc. I traveled to the job site a couple of times to take some detailed surveys, then spent many hours crafting a 3D solid model of the space on the computer and working up some conceptual design studies to go with the proposal. Then comes the writing of the proposal, the snapping to the obsessive  formatting requirements, the completion of all the required forms plus days of writing the text. Of course, you don’t get paid to write proposals, so there’s your regular work that has to be done along the way.

So, eventually, along comes the deadline and I usually find myself cramming to get these things out the door. This one ran to 39 pages of text and pictures and I was still in the layout process the night before the deadline. I knew I needed to start printing, because my printer does a great job, but it’s miserably slow by 21st century standards. So I find myself up at 3 in the morning working away on this thing when the RAM chips in my computer decide to get cranky on me and the computer screen suddenly just goes black right in the middle of me trying to rewrite one of my subcontractors’ text submittals.

Poof. Out of business. …or so I thought as I struggled for the next couple of hours to get the system back online. Pulling the Ram chips out of the motherboard and washing the contacts with alcohol eventually did the trickand I was back in business by about 5AM with 236 pages left to print (six copies of a 39 page proposal)and several minor things, like a detailed schedule and budget, left to compose. Sometime after the sun came up the leg humpers started to call wanting me to buy new software or oil and gas leases or time shares at the beautiful Williamsburg Resorts. Oy Vey.

With the proposal due at 2PM downtown, I was still scrambling at 1:30 to get it out of the printer, bind it, box it and seal it. But I was out the door at a quarter to 2 with just a slight prayer of a chance of getting it downtown on time. After a blast down the highway like I haven’t had since high school and a sprint up Governor Street that had me wondering if I would have a coronary right there on the street, I was actually physically in the state office building just before the deadline. But there I sat on the ground level, waiting for an elevator that looked like it had been installed when I was ducking and covering in grade school.

Long and tedious story short, I got into the procurement office at two minutes past two. My bid was disqualified. It was just me and the procurement officer in the room. No witnesses. I sat in his office for ten more minutes waiting for him to take pity on me. No such luck. Turns out he was just an honest guy playing by the rules.

So, I thought I’d post my nifty watershed model here, since it ‘aint going up at the Shenandoah River State Park.


4 responses

  1. Pingback: Twitted by procurement

  2. Shoot. I was looking fwd to maybe supplying the contours..

    October 22, 2009 at 6:23 am

  3. Roheenie

    Really really bad. Really bad.
    First of all, we have an entire marketing department to do all of the aforementioned work, but even then we are not immune to the two minutes late deal. That’s happened at least twice since I’ve been here and we also had UPS lose a proposal once. NOW the proposal manager himself usually drives the docs to the proper location himself…..and he has broken many many speed limits. Personally? I’ve never been on a deadline that the computer and/or printer didn’t screw up. I think they know. BUT, we have local printers who will actually get out of bed and come in to work to get ‘er done.
    I’m really sorry – it’s THEIR LOSS!!
    Here’s an idea: maybe it will go out for rebid and you can leisurely drive the docs to Wburg.
    You’re still MY hero.

    October 22, 2009 at 10:30 am

  4. boatdog

    Well, I’m glad to hear I’m not the only one this has ever happened to. Man do I feel stupid! The only thing that consoled me the day I realized how badly I’d screwed up, was that I didn’t have a boss to reprimand me, put a note in my personnel file or otherwise abuse me. When you’re self employed you have to kiss and kick your own ass.

    October 22, 2009 at 10:36 am

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